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Yes Miguel, RPG is a wonderful world full of surprises, even for those like us who think they tried everything, and discover new ways of gaming in the new, "independent" games, such as Snowball, My Life With Master, and so many more. Keep exploring! -Eds
Although the articles are quite dated, I felt it would be interesting to send in an extra tidbit on the whole "Evil RPGs" side. Another case of murder connected to gaming occured in Spain, around the year 1993. A group of players killed somebody while enacting a game of Killer, and in fact kept an accurate account of their proceedings to that end.
Keep in mind what I'm telling you, as vague as it sounds, is what I, as a person living in Argentina at the time, got from the media.
Of course, even in 1993, gaming was virtually unheard of in the latin american world (at least, in Argentina), so the press was all over this.
What is this game they talk about? Who plays it? etc etc. Some variety shows brought players to explain and demonstrate a gaming session, which, while it could've had a good effect on the perception of gaming, it didn't, simply because, whether because of a choice made by the producers, or just a bad call from the interviewees, the demonstration of said games were a PR disaster: "The Game of Shadows" was the name of a homebrew game of one of the demonstrators, and as it name implied, it was dark, gloomy, and creepy.
An excellent choice, when you are trying to convince a crowd whose first contact with the hobby is a murder, right? Along with this, parallels to video games, whose criticism was also in vogue during the time, some psychologists talking about kids losing their grasp on reality (no names were actually given for these, but, in retrospective, I think they were referring to "Bink" Pulling's case), and the token overzealous religious mothers, and we had a very small but nasty case of gaming hysteria.
In any case, I had been gaming for three years before that (I attended the American School in Buenos Aires, so I had more access to the games than the average 16-year old), and insofar, other than mild confusion about the whole concept, my parents were indifferent to the whole thing. After these reports, my parents, particularly my mother, grew suspicious, and wished to learn more about the games. With her were a group of mothers who had never heard of RPG's before, except for the news on the murder. They were interested. Actually, they were more than a little suspicious. All these ladies had their sons in my school, so they were worried about the possible bad effects of these games.
The solution ended up being rather simple: I had them come over and play, rather than explaining. They all controlled one character, and I played them through one of my average dungeon crawls: Lots of traps, no moral ambiguity, plenty of orks. Granted, not the most illustrious of stories, but they wanted what the average games was doing, and this was it.
Happily, even though they didn't get it, they no longer had any apprehensions about gaming. Eventually, the fuzz died out, and happily, we gamers went back to obscurity. I left Argentina a couple of years after that, so I couldn't tell you what's the state of the hobby is there anymore. Hopefully just as obscure as it was when I was there.
Speaking about the supposed correlation between gaming and suicides, here in Chile (where I am now), there's a brand new case of the sort. It has sprouted its first "we are worried about this things" article. However, they are concentrating on Yu-Gi-Oh, which is a TCG... Nevertheless, one of the newspapers tried comparing Yu-Gi-Oh to Dungeons and Dragons (and did a bad job, I might add), so I am also in the process of writing this fellow an email, if only because I know there were other responses from the gamer side, and it seems they weren't very polite, which of course lands us a bad reputation. In any case, yes, I will do my best to write a good, concise report on the theme.
Anyway, thanks for listening to this rather long-winded
tale. Kudos on your magazine.I need to
ask, before you leave, to settle a doubt for me:You state that the
dragonlance modules came before the novels. Yet, in my
copy of Dragons of Autumn Dawning, it is stated that the modules
came first. So what came first?
Eduardo, we lost contact, but don't hesitate, - and any of you readers - to write about the anti-rpg craze. Any testimony is interesting — Eduardo's story about him playing with the mothers is fantastic!
Why do you guys hate D&D?
Pat pulling started B.A.D.D. because her son shot himself
supposedly because of the game.It wasnt the game it was the kid
obviously he would have shot himself over something as litle and
stupid as losing a football game.So what then? Would she make a
cult called B.A.F.B.?This kid obviously needed some help and
psychologic treatment it wasnt the game it was the parent.Pat
pulling died of ovarian cancer dude nothing happens negative
against us unless we did something to deserve it she got what was
coming to her d&d has nothing to do with satan.It was a hobby
that derived from an original wargame that a prussian officer
developed to reenact battles and as an aid for officers in
training.The game was rediscovered 200 years later and people began
to play it again.Eventually Gary gygax wanted to do something
different with it.He wanted to base the wargame around a smaller
group of characters so the game would be less frantic and the
characters would no longer be just a plain swordsman or knight.The
characters would develop personalities and be unique.The monsters
and all that came much later.The game is just like playing chess or
boggle if you call this game satan then you must condamn all games
that involve winning or losing
Thanks for such an illustration of how "impolite responses from the gamer side, which of course grants us a bad reputation". You see, sometimes you like your hobby so much that you can not explain it simply, or are mad when someone doesn't share your enthusiasm. - Eds
I checked the article about the History of Roleplaying. Mostly a good read but I was seriously disappointed about the lack of coverage of the company ICE and their Middle Earth and Rolemaster games.
Middle Earth that is one of the best selling games ever is
barely mentioned and even worse the advanced version Rolemaster is
not even mentioned at all. Surely would a roleplaying system that
is still in print and compatible with the first version released in
1984 be worth mentioning if the topic is history of roleplaying
We're glad that you enjoyed reading at least some of it. Steve's history is a bit out of date but he's too busy to update it. As regards MERP (and RM), it's a game I've enjoyed playing a lot... But then I'm not sure that it's any kind of landmark in roleplaying development, although MERP might be one of the early big licenses, a couple of years after Cthulhu. I'm happy to be put right though. RM, I think, first appeared in 1980. - Eds
Well Per-Anders and "Blake" , thank you for the information. The History is however unlikely to be updated by Steve Darlington, who gave up. Maybe one day we shall turn the History into a wiki, so anyone could contribute directly... Lobby for it, and we might do it. :-) - Eds.
I am in the process of developing a RP Forum for several of my
online friends and have found some of the articles from your site
to be absolutely wonderful. (...) I was wondering if you would mind
if I included a link to the site in my own pages? ... I am
attempting to write a generic guide about RPing ... that includes
discussions about character development, the use of magic and
technology, conflict resolution and character
interaction.... With your site being one of the better
ones I have seen as far as being easily navigated, informative and
easily read, I would most definitely like to direct visitors to my
own site in your direction. ... And thank you for such a nice site,
I particularly liked the History of Role Playing articles.
You are all very welcome to link to our site; go on, make us famous since we deserve it ;-) - Eds.
SteveD at least has the ability to say a lot of sensible things, mixed with some crap he would be well advised to throw away.
In any case, would you accept an article where I expose why rpgs are NOT story making in any sensible sense? Yes, I plan to hit heavy on the two columns above, but no, it will not be just a contrarian article. I plan to present an alternative assessment of rpg-ing, one that does not require the overused and much abused story-making explanation.
PS ... I have been writing columns for RPGnet. My current column is called Rough Quests and can be found at RPG.net
PPS Mind you, I have nothing against the Forge and what people
are doing there. It may make for a nice reading from time to time.
What makes me fume is the zealous proselytizing that presents it as
a New Age in the history of roleplaying.
We'd be happy to accept an article from you subject to the usual editorial controls! :-) - Eds.
Thank you, you're a wonderful audience! - Eds
I'm looking over the other issues as I write this, and I\'m
totally sold. Sing me up!
Thanks for joining our site. We do cater to a broad cross section of roleplayers but I think you might be one of the first mothers to write in. Or at least, one of the first to tell us.
If you're interested in the Dallas Egbert there's a very good site called the Escapist that has a lot of information about that and other gaming controversies. There's also a funny section where the writer attempts to "prove" that spells work - Eds
I really thought Dallas was alot older than me, but after reading your article, I realize he was only 3 years older. I was probably between 7-9 when we played together. I met him thru my brother, who was good friends with Doug, as they were in the same grade back in Valley Forge Elememtary. We lived just a few streets away. (...). I am not sure exactly what I knew about Dallas at the time, except that he was a genius (though I am not quite sure I knew what that meant), and that he had really no friends his own age.
I have one memory that stands out about him, though I am not sure why. We were in his house, shooting pool, and he was telling me about his new puppy, or perhaps it was puppies, I cannot remember. I do remember though, even as a young child, how incredibly immature he seemed. His brother Doug seemed much more "normal".
I recall very clearly hearing about him disappearing while playing dungeons and dragons. In fact, I was just telling my husband about it last night, and decided to google his name to see if I could find out more. I was shocked to find out the truth. I had always thought he was never found. I was not aware that he was found, and that he committed suicide some years later.
Such a sad story. He really seemed like a nice kid, though rather lost. I really don't recall his parents at all, and I have not seen his brother since he was a little blonde haired kid back in school.
Thank you for the article.
Laura (Borders) Connock
I'm the kind of roleplayer that love all 3 aspects.
Great job, great thinking. I'm happy to receive your writings.
Kisses to all.
I particularly appreciate the mature and serious nature it approaches the subject with, and has realistic humour added in as well. Superb job.
But one of the amazing things I discovered was that Steve
Darlington contributes for you! "The
History of Role-playing", I really enjoyed
it, I felt it was well written, entertaining and really quite
I read a few articles. I'd like to see
more.I've played a few games...and I'm trynig to
start my own world in rolemaster. It problably would
be smarter to use something like Gurps, but something about the
crit tables really appeal to me. Hope to hear more
from you. Cheers!
We like to think that setting is more important than rules. Hence we put articles to make settings more consistent and detailed (such as "the importance of food" or "Law and Order in RPGs". So our advice would be: use your favorite system, add the crit tables, and focus on your world! :-) - Eds
I think that more people would write articles if there was some
sort of incentive though...freebie games (many companies do this
anyhow), promo cards, etc. Problem with RPGers is that they're too
busy playing...heh. :)
We're a non-profit making outfit, we mainly do it for the glory, honestly. Occasionally we get sent stuff which is usually handed out amongst the team. But we haven't had much recently. I think the best freebie we get is free entry to conventions on the promise of a review article in the zine. The big US cons, GenCon and Origins, treat the press really well, even little people like us. We even got nominated for an award once.
So much as I'd like to shower putative writers with gifts, it's not really possible, unless we get glossy advertising sponsorship from Hasbro or Nike. I can see it now, "The Displacer Beast - the shoe for gamers everywhere - swoosh!" A man can dream, as long as he's got a day job to pay the rent. -Eds
Thanks for joining up. As for your offer of writing for the zine, we very much like to take you up on that. We're finding it harder to get good articles and would really welcome some fresh new input. (that is true for anyone reading this!)- Eds
On Bass Players
"The bass player sets the beat, probably the mood, the key, and the changes in the music, but he almost never plays the melody." [Theory 101 Part 2]
As a bass player who is also a DM, I believe that analogy isn't entirely true. The bass player doesn't set the beat, the drummer does. The bass player, drummer, and perhaps a rythm guitar make the rythm section, and a good rythm section helps the drummer set the beat.
The bass player doesn't set the key either. I'm assuming you're talking about a "jam" here. The person who picks the key is the person who starts playing first. Everyone else has to identify the key. If it's an arranged piece of music, the key is pre-chosen. If you're writing music the key is often chosen as a combination of the key's mood and a singer's vocal range.
Different bands do different things with music changes. From my experience the drummer usually signals changes in the music with a fill, but other times you can get changes from the vocals.
You are right that the bass player rarely gets the melody, though it's pretty common for a bass player to be playing a counter-melody or just improvising underneath the vocals or a guitar solo. I think that's probably what you were trying to bring out as the DM's role.
Anyways, interesting article, though I think maybe the analogy
should back up to be the rhythm section. (The Rythm Section
Method?) At any given time somebody in the rythm section is
probably screwing around doing something interesting underneath the
Not that we know of, sorry. You might like to try getting in touch with QUGS (Queensland University Gaming Society) who may be able to point you in a better direction. -Eds
Feel free to write us an story of the wherabouts of this story, even how it affected you. We're always eager to collect examples of media manipulations and craze on RPGs
One sugestion: why don't you post your very good
article about the history of RPG on the Wikipedia?
Wagner, did you realise that the serie is consisting of 25,000 words? That is too much for a wikipedia part. Plus, the style is not exactly objective, as Steve admits in his addendum and thus doesn't suit wikis style. So, we would feel better if wikipedia.org would link to the history! :-)
However, one day we'll turn those articles into wiki format, so everyone could correct years of publication, and so on :-) - Eds
Your comments encourage authors and editors alike. Please keep them coming in!
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